The site will store the tailings left at Candonga after the Fundao dam collapse
Today, May 18, the Renova Foundation resumed part of the activities developed at the Floresta Farm. The works were interrupted in March this year, following warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health regarding the new coronavirus pandemic.
The Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Power Plant, known as Candonga, located in the town of Rio Doce (MG), retained much of the tailings that moved along the Doce River in 2015, which paralyzed its operation. To accommodate the material that will be removed from the Candonga reservoir, the Floresta Farm was acquired, located at 3 km from the plant, and was undergoing a series of interventions. These works are now being resumed.
The resumption took into account Resolution No. 17 of the COVID-19 Extraordinary Committee of the Government of Minas Gerais, which authorizes the continuity of civil construction works. The decision was based on the Candonga Works Resumption Plan, which was previously shared with the Municipal COVID-19 Committees in Santa Cruz do Escalvado and Rio Doce.
During the isolation period, the Renova Foundation continued the road work on the main road of the Santana do Deserto community. These works will keep from now on, and so will the assembly of the construction site and the earthworks of the tailings pile, works restricted to the Floresta Farm.
The proposal is to resume interventions gradually, keeping a small number of employees in the field in order to avoid agglomerations. No works will be carried out in the urban area at this time.
The Renova Foundation has been taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of workers and communities in the region. These are some of the measures that are being adopted, or that will be implemented from now on:
– None of the workers returning to work are from high-risk groups, that is, people over 60 years of age or suffering from diseases that make them vulnerable to COVID-19, such as anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, asthma, bronchitis, heart problems, history of cancer, among others. Moreover, the majority of workers are local residents. The few workers who will be mobilized from other municipalities will have fulfilled the quarantine period in their homes.
– There will be fewer employees per vehicle for commuting. On buses, hand sanitizer and protective masks will be made available when hopping on and off. The safe distance must be maintained between the occupants, both on the buses and in the waiting lines. After use, the vehicles will be disinfected.
– When the employees arrive at the front desk, their body temperature will be measured.
– Everyone will receive the necessary safety equipment, such as masks and protective glasses, and will continuously be reminded to maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 meters between themselves.
– There are several points available where people can wash their hands with soap and water. Alcohol hand sanitizer and disposable towels are also available in bathrooms, on buses, vans, third-party vehicles, trucks, and large equipment.
– The work area will be continuously cleaned, avoiding the accumulation of waste and increasing the safety of employees who need to handle equipment and tools.
– Meals will be served at the construction site in takeaway boxes. Employees are instructed to maintain a safe distance between themselves when eating.
Every care will be taken to preserve the health of the residents of neighboring communities. If they need to use local services, workers must adopt hygiene measures and use masks.
Floresta Farm and Candonga
About 1 million m³ of tailings, which were deposited on the first 400 meters of the plant’s reservoir, will be dredged by pipes to an intermediate dike that will serve as support for the main dike where the tailings will be drained. The water withdrawn from the dam will be taken to two basins where it will undergo treatment and then will be returned to the Doce River. The dry tailings will be compacted and transported to stacking areas.
The renovation of the hydroelectric power plant and the works at Floresta Farm are essential to enable the plant’s resumption of operations. After the dredging of the material is completed, the Floresta Farm will be reforested.